On Writing

I’ve never enjoyed writing. I have an awful lot to say, but i’m usually best when that’s limited to 140 characters on twitter of instant messenger conversations, and even those tends to be spread out across a few posts, rather than writing long sentences.

In fact, the only time I ever got a detention in school was where I tip-ex’d one spelling correction in an English essay, and rubbed out the teachers comments as I was happy with it and because I couldn’t be bothered to rewrite it all.

I never had a computer back in school, and didn’t get one until I went to college. This meant every piece of work I ever did at home was handwritten.

Computers have corrupted me since then. I wrote a letter this weekend by hand this week for the first time in a while as I wanted it to be more personal. Typing is easy and the most personalisation you get is font choices, and kerning. And while kerning excites me way more than I should admit, the chances of the reader caring as much as me is very slim. Using a computer has changed the way I write and I’ve become dependant on backspace.

When I type on a computer it’s often without thinking it through properly. I know my little finger is never more than about 3cm from the backspace key and it’s very rare for me to write something without actually using backspace to correct something; I’ve done it three times in writing this sentence alone. When writing on paper, I try to change the way my brain thinks about what I’m trying to write and that usually works, but by the third paragraph not only is my hand starting to ache from holding a pen (which in itself is depressing), but the rate of “write-o’s” and general grammatical errors bothers me enough to want to get more practise and get back into the routing of it.

Throughout college, university and since graduating I’ve used computers for writing everything, apart from the odd letter to girlfriends, or good friends in America, but the most pen and paper writing I’ve done for the past few years is my yearly christmas card ritual, everything else is electronic.

Time to restart the letter exchange with friends. Maybe this will inspire me to read more too – I can’t remember the last time I read a book cover to cover, that was probably back in school too.